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Koffi Olomide cleared of sexually assaulting ex-dancers, guilty of holding them against their will

by Editorial Team
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AFP

A French court on Monday cleared Congolese rumba star Koffi Olomide of sexually assaulting his former dancers, but convicted him of holding them against their will during tours in France.

Olomide, 65, whose real name is Antoine Agbepa Mumba, received a suspended jail term on the sequestration charge and was ordered to pay compensation after having been tried on appeal for a second time.

He had been convicted of statutory rape in 2019 when a separate court ruled he had had sex with a dancer when she was aged 15.

The four former dancers had said they were held against their will at a villa outside Paris between 2002 and 2006 and were forced to have sex with the performer, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At a final hearing in the re-trial on Friday, the judge overturned the statutory rape charge on the basis of “changing and sometimes contradictory” evidence from the plaintiffs, but convicted the singer of sequestration.

His guilt was shown “without any doubt” with the women “deprived of all liberties and constantly watched” by two accomplices who kept them in a room with the blinds locked.

A lawyer representing three of the women, David Desgranges, said they would “obviously be disappointed about the sexual assault verdicts because for them this was the most important thing”.

One of them told the trial through tears that she had been assaulted “in hotels, sometimes in the cars… in recording studios”

Olomide was sentenced to a suspended prison term of 18 months, far short the sentence requested by the public prosecutor who had called for a jail term of eight years.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of 10,000-32,000 euros ($11,000-36,000, between sh39m and sh128m) to each dancer.

A lawyer representing three of the women, David Desgranges, said they would “obviously be disappointed about the sexual assault verdicts because for them this was the most important thing”.

One of them told the trial through tears that she had been assaulted “in hotels, sometimes in the cars… in recording studios”.

Olomide, who appeared in person for the appeal, accused the women of telling lies and said it was part of a “conspiracy” to “ruin my career”.

He was briefly jailed in DR Congo in 2016 for kicking one of his dancers, and was given a suspended three-month prison sentence in 2012 for striking his producer.

 

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