The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has suspended his aide, Abidemi Rufai, who was arrested in the United States for an alleged $350,000 (about N140 million) COVID-19 unemployment fraud.
Kunle Somorin, Mr Abiodun’s chief press secretary, confirmed the suspension to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday.
“Our position is that the law should take its course,” Mr Somorin said in a Whatsapp interview.
“Meanwhile, the governor has ordered his immediate suspension from office to answer charges against him.”
Sources within the government told PREMIUM TIMES that the governor took the action immediately he was briefed about Mr Rufai’s arrest.
Rufai, 42, popularly known as ‘Ruffy’, a Senior Special Assistant to Mr Abiodun, was arrested in the United States for his scheme to steal over $350,000 (about N158 million) in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
He was arrested last Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York before boarding a flight to Amsterdam.
He is scheduled for a detention hearing Wednesday.
The money wired is said to be unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Rufai, appeared in federal court Saturday on charges that 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.
“This is the first, but will not be the last, significant arrest in our ongoing investigation of ESD fraud,” said Tessa Gorman, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, in a statement Monday.