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Nigeria: Suspended aid to state governor, Abidemi Rufai, pleads guilty to fraud, identity theft in US

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Abidemi Rufai, who is a suspended senior special assistant to Ogun State governor in South-West Nigeria, arrested in May last year in the United State for wire fraud, has pleaded guilty to the fraud and aggravated identity theft in a District Court in Tacoma.

45-year-old Rufai pleaded guilty on Tuesday in US District Court in Tacoma to charges that he used stolen Social Security numbers and other personal data to file $350,763 in fake claims for pandemic unemployment benefits in 2020.

According to a US Attorney’s Office statement, between 2017 and 2020, Rufai filed fraudulent claims for $1.7 million in federal tax refunds, of which $90,877 was paid out.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing benefits from other states, as well as another $250,000 from other federal programs,

US Attorney’s Office spokesperson Emily Langlie said “he has agreed to disclose all of his assets and to cooperate in US government efforts to recover on those assets,” It is not clear how he would make payments or whether his agreement meant he still had access to the stolen funds.

Although Nigeria is arguably the biggest Tech market in Africa, with many talented individuals doing the country proud locally and abroad. High-profile international fraud cases are also traceable to Nigerians. Recall the case of one Ramon Abbas, popularly known Hushpuppi who is currently serving a jail term in the US for fraud which court documents filed in California say cost victims almost $24m (£17m) in total.

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Sudanese Janjaweed mercenaries fighting for Libyan warlord agree to withdraw, return home

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Seven Sudanese mercenaries who were members of the Janjaweed rebel forces fighting for Libyan warlord, Khalifa Haftar, have agreed to withdraw their services and leave Libya with immediate effect.

According to Libya Observer, the fighters made the decision early this month during a meeting held in Niger on June 11-12.

The meeting took place at the invitation of a French organisation which was attended by representatives from the United Nations (UN), the United States, the European Union, Norway, Turkey and Egypt.

The meeting had discussed practical ways to disarm the many rebel groups fighting in the North African country and how they might be reintegrated into the national army.

Libya Observer reports that about 30,000 mercenaries are fighting in the ranks of the Libyan eastern strong with the UN repeatedly asking foreign countries vying for influence in Libya to withdraw their mercenaries.

The meeting, which was the second of such to be held, had rebel groups and representatives from the governments of Sudan, Chad, Niger, and Libya were in attendance, and discussions were centred on modalities to withdraw all mercenaries from the countries.

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Egyptian court sentences 10 Muslim Brotherhood members to death on terrorism charges

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Ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court on Wednesday while 56 others bagged life sentences after they were convicted of supporting or carrying out attacks against security forces and sabotage of state infrastructure.

The defendants were also accused of committing premeditated murder and attempting to murder policemen and civilians, protesting, sabotaging, using of force, violence and threats with public officials to stop them carrying out their work.

The attacks were linked to incidents which took place in Cairo between 2013 and 2015, all traced to the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Following the unrest, which led to several deaths, Egypt mounted one of the biggest crackdowns in its modern history on the Muslim Brotherhood following the army’s 2013 overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

The court also referred the defendants to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a possible appeal and an approval for a death sentence in January.

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