A court of appeal in France found Congolese rumba star Koffi Olomidé guilty of holding four of his former dancers against their will in Paris between 2002 and 2006, but acquitted him of charges of sexual assault.
It overturns a ruling of two years ago that had found him guilty of the statutory rape of one of the dancers when she was 15.
The four Congolese women accused Olomidé and his two accomplices of locking them in the villa near Paris while the singer was touring or recording.
They said that they were forced to have sex with Olomidé, who struck them if they tried to resist.
Olomidé was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with probation of three years for having ‘sequestered’ them during his tours in France.
The acquittal on the sexual assaults is “pronounced with the benefit of the doubt”, explained the president of the 7th correctional chamber of the court of appeal of Versailles, evoking in particular “evolving declarations, sometimes contradictory” of the plaintiffs.
On the other hand, the sequestration is “established without any doubt”, with complainants “deprived of any freedom and supervised in a constant way” by two accomplices of Koffi Olomidé in a house of Parisian suburb, that had been installed locks on shutters.
The two Congolese guards, Mbila Kakese, 45, and Ogima Tsasa Nduka, 49, were both sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with a three-year probationary period for complicity in the crime of kidnapping.
Olomidé and his accomplices are required to pay between 10,000 euros and 32,000 euros to each dancer as compensation.
The singer who lives in France has always denied the allegations.
The 65-year-old Franco-Congolese is no stranger to controversy.
In 2016, he was briefly jailed in DR Congo for kicking one of his dancers, and had already been given a suspended three-month prison sentence in 2012 for striking his producer.
He was also kicked out of Kenya in 2016 after striking one of his female dancers at Jomo Kenyatta airport.
He is also sought by Zambian police for striking a Rwandan photojournalist in Lusaka in 2012.
Olomidé had a previous brush with the law in France in 2006 when he was handed a suspended one-year prison sentence for tax fraud.