Congolese singer Koffi Olomide has been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the kidnapping of his former dancers.
The Versailles Court in France pronounced the verdict against the international star on December 13.
Four former dancers accuse 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 women, who lodged a complaint between 2007 and 2013, accused Koffi Olomide of having locked them in a pavilion in the Paris suburbs and of having forced them to have sex with him, on a regular basis for some time.
However, judgment rendered by the court on Monday is far from the expectations of the general prosecutor. During the trial held at the end of October, the prosecutor requested eight years in prison against the 65-year-old Franco-Congolese, asking to reconsider “the sinking” of the first judgment and to find this “powerful man” guilty.
At first instance, in 2019, the Nanterre court had sentenced Koffi to two years in prison for “sexual assault” on one of the young women, declared a minor, but the singer who now lives in France appealed against the verdict.
In the latest ruling, the Congolese singer was acquitted of the charge of sexual assault on the same dancers, who are former members of his Quartier Latin band.
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.
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.
Then, the singer rejected the accusations of his former dancers saying that the dream of the young women who accused 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”.