Congolese rhumba star Koffi Olomidé was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the kidnapping of his former dancers.
The Versailles Court in France pronounced the verdict on Monday. The Congolese singer was, however, acquitted of sexual assault charges he had earlier on been charged with on the same dancers– the former members of his Quartier Latin band.
The sexual assault on the dancers had allegedly been perpetrated between 2002 and 2006 in the singer’s villa in Asnières, a town in the Paris region.
The acquittal on the sexual assaults is “given for the benefit of the doubt,” explained the president of the 7th Correctional Chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal, referring in particular to the “evolving, sometimes contradictory statements” of the complainants.
The singer’s judicial record is heavy and includes a conviction in 2019 in France, for rape of a minor under 15 years old and sequestration of four of his dancers. At first instance, the Nanterre court gave him a two-year suspended sentence instead of the seven-year prison sentence requested by the prosecution.
The Versailles court’s verdict on his 18-month sentence came after the Congolese star had left France.
The singer denied the accusations by his former dancers. He said that “the dream of the young women who accuse me was to live in France and obtain papers from associations.”
Koffi Olomide said that “women are very well protected, we must also listen to our point of view”.
Koffi Olomide has been performing live in different locations. Recently, the singer caused a buzz after going to the war-torn areas in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo dressed in military fatigue.
In early November, after he returned from Paris where he had gone to attend his first trial session, Koffi Olomide went to seek solace at the large Kimbanguiste church in Nkamba in the western province of Kongo-Central, where he confessed to the spiritual leader of the church that he was “overwhelmed by problems”.
Koffi Olomide, 65, is a successful star of romantic rumba and has a stellar reputation.
In 2016, he was expelled from Kenya following a public assault on one of his dancers. The singer apologised, acknowledging “a little moment of distraction”.
In 2018, Zambia issued a warrant of arrest against him for assaulting a photographer- being one of the incidences that have created a particularly heavy past for the boss of the Quartier Latin band.
By Eric Knight
The star had appealed against the sentence.