18th May, 2021
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has ordered the suspension of his Senior Special Assistant, Abidemi Rufai, over his involvement in wire fraud in the U.S.
The suspension was confirmed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin on Tuesday.
Somorin said that Rufai is an appointee of the Ogun State Government while adding that Gov. Abiodun cannot be held responsible for his conducts.
“I can confirm that he (Abidemi Rufai) is a political appointee of Gov Abiodun and we are disturbed by the news. His suspension has been ordered. That I can confirm to you.
“The governor cannot be held responsible for his conduct. He has been suspended to answer charges. He is presumed innocent. He should face the law and answer the charges against him,” Somorin said.
Rufai was arrested on Friday at JFK Airport in New York on a criminal complaint charging him with wire fraud for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.
The government of Washington had set aside the funds as unemployment benefits for residents during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The 42-year-old Abidemi Rufai, who disguised as Sandy Tang, 42, to perpetrate fraud, was said to have made his initial appearance on Saturday, May 15, 2021, in New York.
He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Wednesday.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Tessa M. Gorman, also accused Rufai of using the stolen identities of over a hundred Washington residents to apply for relief funds for ESD for COVID-19-related unemployment benefits.
He had committed the same wire fraud in Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania, where he filed fraudulent unemployment claims.
Rufai was appointed as a Senior Special Assistant by Gov Abiodun in August 2020.