April 20, 2008 / 12:09 PM / 10 years ago

Madonna seeks delay in Malawi adoption case

BLANTYRE (Reuters) - Madonna has asked a Malawian court to delay a hearing to finalize her adoption of a boy from the southern African nation, a lawyer close to the case said.

The singer’s law firm in Malawi filed an application requesting the High Court in Lilongwe to hear her adoption of David Banda on May 15 instead of April 22, as originally scheduled, the lawyer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Madonna’s need to travel to the United States for business reasons was cited as the reason for the delay, the lawyer said.

Court officials refused to confirm the application.

“Adoption is a confidential matter and we separate adoption files from the regular case files,” Thomson Ligowe, assistant registrar in the High Court, told Reuters.

Malawi’s government recommended earlier this month that the court approve the adoption of Banda.

The pop diva met the boy in an orphanage in 2006 and began adoption proceedings soon after. He has been living with Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie in London since shortly after the adoption process began.

The adoption has been controversial, with critics accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children in Malawi, one of the countries in Africa hardest hit by AIDS.

The epidemic has left an estimated one million orphans in the country.

Reporting by Frank Phiri; Editing by Paul Simao and Caroline Drees

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