Madonna’s £96K payout to sacked Malawi workers after her plans to build school were abandoned


Madonna has agreed to pay almost £100,000 to a group of charity workers who sued the star after her plans to build a school in Malawi were abandoned last year.

The singer, who has an estimated fortune of more than £400?million, was facing a court case to answer claims of unfair dismissal and unpaid wages from eight charity workers who lost their jobs when plans for her Raising Malawi Academy, a 500-pupil girls’ school, collapsed last March.

But the case, which was due to be heard at Malawi’s Industrial Relations Court in Blantyre, was averted at the last minute after the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement last month, with Madonna agreeing to pay £96,000.

Court documents relating to the deal make clear that the 53-year-old star, who has two adopted children from Malawi, does not acknowledge guilt. The papers also reveal that the claimants were expected to sign confidentiality agreements. The claimants included the charity’s former chief executive, Anjimile Oponyo, a  one-time UN employee who was hand-picked by Madonna to run the academy.

A lawyer for the group said yesterday that his clients had not yet received their payouts. Wapona Kita said: ‘The money was supposed to be paid there and then but it is over four weeks later and no money has been paid.

‘I have tried to contact Madonna’s lawyers in Malawi but their response is they are having extreme difficulty transferring the money from the US.

‘I cannot communicate with Madonna. I can only communicate with her lawyers in Malawi.  But people here feel they are being played.’

Last night, a spokeswoman for Madonna declined to comment.

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