Abidemi Rufai to remain in detention- Court

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma, on Tuesday, gave an order that Abidemi Rufai should remain in detention.

Mr Rufai, who is an aide to Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, is currently enmeshed in $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States.

His bail was denied following a move by the government for “a stay of the release order.”

The United States District Judge, Benjamin Settle, has however, granted the government’s motion to stay release of Mr Rufai.

“The release order is stayed, and the defendant shall remain in custody pending this Court’s decision on the government’s motion for review,” a court document obtained by PREMIUM TIMES read.

This newspaper earlier reported that the United States Department of Justice raised the alarm that the surety provided by Mr Rufai is a suspected fraudster.

The U.S. authorities said the surety provided, a nurse, Nekpen Soyemi, is a suspected fraudster and should not be allowed to stand surety for Mr Rufai.

Earlier, when the suspect first appeared in court on May 19, he was denied bail because his brother, Alaba Rufai, who is listed in court records, could not post the $300,000 surety bond for his bail.

Mr Rufai was arrested while trying to get out of the U.S. on May 14 after allegedly using the identities of more than 100 Washington residents to steal more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Mr Rufai has since been suspended by Governor Abiodun.

His lawyer, Michael Barrow, said Mr Rufai denied “involvement in these transactions.”

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