Madonna delays out of court pay out to sacked Malawi staff

Madonna’s Malawian lawyer has said that the US pop diva is delaying to pay off her sacked staff in a court settlement because of the forex crisis in the southern African nation.

Eight people who lost their jobs at Raising Malawi Girls Academy took Madonna to court last year for unfair dismissal and failure to pay them wages when she abandoned plans to build a girls academy in Malawi.

Raising Malawi Academy for Girls — in Chinkhota village about 15 kilometres outside the capital Lilongwe – was scheduled  to be completed in December last year and planned to admit 500 girls from the  across the country.

Madonna with her daughter adopted from Malawi, Mercy

Wapona Kita, lawyer for the eight, said his clients feel tricked by Madonna’s delays to honour the out-of- court settlement deal which they agreed in December last year.

“The money was supposed to be paid in December last year immediately the agreement was made. Of course, we got communication from her lawyers that they are having difficulties to transfer the money from US to Malawi, but some of my clients also have bank accounts in the UK.

“We feel there would not be problems to transfer the money into their accounts in UK. We think games are being played and will take action,” said Kita.

Madonna’s lawyers, Savjani&Company, agreed that their client has delayed payment but blamed the forex shortage in the country for the delays.

The company said that they managed to in local currency about K6 million out of K25 million (100,000 pounds)

“We have paid around K6 million to about four who were quoted in local currency. The other staff quoted in US dollars and they have appealed to us that we should pay them in dollars. We have the money in kwachas and cannot find forex for about K20 million in the banks,” said Davies Ndhlovu of Savjani&Company

“We told them that we don’t have a forex dominated bank account where dollars can be transferred to pay the staff. The staff’s lawyers have also said they do not have a forex dominated account and that is the problem,” said Ndhlovu

The super star is staying with two Malawian children who she adopted. She came under fire when she adopted a 13-month-old boy, David Banda, in 2006, with critics accusing her of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.

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