Pop star Madonna has reached agreement to pay K24 million to eight sacked school employees in Malawi who sued her over unpaid benefits and unjustified sackings after the collapse of her schools project.
The group of sacked workers included chief executive Anjimile Oponyo.
The singer contested that there was nothing unfair about the termination of the employees’ contracts, which was necessary due to genuine economic reasons.
The staff had claimed that they were being forced to sign a discriminatory termination agreement which was “unfair and unconstitutional”.
The industrial court in Blantyre however told Madonna to pay up.
Madonna had planned to build a $15 million school for girls, Raising Malawi Academy for Girls (RMAG), in Lilongwe Malawi three years ago, but the project was cancelled amid allegations of mismanagement including excessive spending on offices cars and golf membership. An audit found $3.8 million had been squandered.
Madonna, who has adopted two children from Malawi, announced in January 2011 that she was overhauling her plans for Malawi.
She said she wanted to build more community schools that would reach out to more girls than the academy, which would have offered scholarships to 500 girls from impoverished backgrounds.
However, she has not followed up her latest plans and her charity has been inactive in Malawi for more than a year.