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.
The Lingala king is not new to controversies, he has a long list of cases that have seen him in and out of court. In 2008, the musician was accused of assaulting a photojournalist from a local TV station in Kinshasa who was covering his concert. He was arrested in August 2012 for assaulting his former music producer, Diego Lubaki, and was handed a three-month suspended prison sentence for the assault. In December 2012, the musician was accused of kicking a freelance photo-journalist, Jean Mandela, in the face during a concert in Zambia. Koffi is also banned from performing in several countries, especially Africa, as his musical performances are said to be too raunchy and explicit.
The singer caused a stir upon his arrival in Kenya on Friday, July 22, when he kicked one of his female dancers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the full glare of cameras and police officers. The incident quickly went viral, with many Kenyans taking to social media to condemn his actions and call for his arrest.