Governor Abiodun’s moneybag Bidemi Rufai presents Yahoo girl as surety: FBI

Abidemi Rufai, charged in over N312 billion unemployment fraud in the United States, will not be released on bail after the FBI uncovered vagrant irregularities in the surety he presented before the court, court documents seen by Peoples Gazette said.

Mr Rufai was granted bail with a $300,000 bond that will be provided by Nekpen Soyemi, a nurse identified to be his friend. But while the bail papers were being prepared to speed up Mr Rufai’s release, the FBI conducted a background check on Ms Soyemi and discovered that she was once suspected of a business email compromise scam by the Bank of America. 

The FBI also said Ms Soyemi was once involved in a $134,000 fraud linked to a non-profit. It was not immediately clear whether Ms Soyemi was charged.

Detectives also said Ms Soyemi’s ownership of a property in the U.S. could not be verified, and two bank accounts traced to her only had $335 and $1,838, respectively, as their balances. The combined balance was far from the $300,000 bond imposed on the suspect.

Consequently, prosecutors advised the judge to rescind Mr Rufai’s bail and instead remand him in custody indefinitely, fearing that he was a flight risk. The judge will hear the bail arguments again on May 25, a court official told Reporters. 

“The defendant presents an extreme risk of non-appearance that cannot be addressed,” prosecutors said. “We respectfully request that the Court order him detained pending his transfer to this district, at which point his status may be reconsidered.” 

Mr Rufai, Governor Dapo Abiodun’s long-time aide and business associate, was arrested last week in New York as he prepared to depart for Nigeria, U.S. authorities said. 

His brother was initially listed as a potential surety following his appearance in court. But Alaba Rufai said he could not raise the required $300,000 bond, alongside other criteria. 

As part of terms for Mr Rufai’s release, he agreed to electronic home monitoring and travel restrictions. But the conditions might be reexamined during next Tuesday’s hearing.

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