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Koffi Olomide sentenced in France over dancers’ kidnapping

Kofi Olomidde

Congolese musician Koffi Olomide during a past performance in Kenya. COURTESY PHOTO

Congolese singer Koffi Olomide has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the kidnapping of his former dancers. But the sentence was suspended for three years. The Versailles Court in France pronounced the verdict on 13 December.

But the Congolese singer was acquitted of the charge of sexual assault on the same dancers, who are former members of his Quartier Latin band. Four former dancers accused the rumba star of sexual assault and kidnapping which happened between 2002 and 2006 in the villa of the singer 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 the rape of an under 15 minor and sequestration of four of his dancers.

Appeal

Initially, the Nanterre court gave him a two-year suspended sentence instead of the seven-year prison sentence requested by the prosecution. The star had appealed against the sentence and the Versailles court’s verdict came when the Congolese star had already left France.

The singer rejected the accusations of his former dancers and said that “the dream of the young women who accuse him was to live in France and obtain papers from associations”, adding that the “women are very well protected”.

Recently, the singer created a buzz by going to the war zones in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo dressed in military uniform. In early November, on his return from Paris where he had attended his first trial, 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”.

In 2016, Olomide, 65, 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 an arrest warrant against him for assaulting a photographer.

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