Following allegations by the United States Department of Justice that the surety provided by Mr. Abidemi Rufai is a suspected fraudster, the court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma, on Wednesday, gave an order that Mr Rufai should remain in detention.
The suspect is a top aide of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.He is accused of being involved in $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud in the United States. He was supposed to he released on Wednesday but the court granted a motion by the US government for “a stay of the release order.”
The order was granted by U.S. District Judge, Benjamin Settle.
“The release order is STAYED, and the defendant shall remain in custody pending this Court’s decision on the government’s motion for review,” Mr Settle was quoted to have said. POLITICS NIGERIA reported that Mr Rufai was arrested at the airport on May 14 when he was try to sneak out of the country to Amsterdam.
The U.S. said he used 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.
Although his lawyer, Michael Barrows, said Mr Rufai denied “involvement in these transactions”, Governor Abiodun has since suspended him.
Mr Rufai’s first appearance in court was last week Wednesday.
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. He got a nurse, Nekpen Soyemi, to stand in for him as surety but the U.S. government said Ms Soyemi is a suspected fraudster and could not be allowed to stand surety for Mr Rufai.