Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Friday, 4 April 2008 10:01 UK

Madonna 'should be able to adopt'

David Banda and Madonna
Madonna met David Banda in a Malawian orphanage in 2006

Pop star Madonna should be allowed to adopt Malawian child David Banda, the country's government has recommended ahead of a court hearing.

An official who visited the singer's London home last year has told Malawi's high court that adoption is "in the best interests" of the two-year-old.

The boy has lived with Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie since October 2006 after they met him in an orphanage.

An adoption hearing is scheduled to take place in Malawi next week.

'No interference'

But the singer's lawyers have asked for the hearing to be delayed until the end of April because she has another engagement in the US.

A court official said on Monday that a judge would give an answer later in the day.

Last year, the Malawian child welfare ministry confirmed that Madonna had been funding a member of ministry staff.

The singer was said to have paid for tuition and living expenses while an employee was studying in Britain.

But Madonna has denied using her celebrity status to evade Malawian laws during the adoption process.

Her spokeswoman has said there has been "absolutely no interference" with government officials and "no use of Madonna's celebrity'" to speed up the adoption process.

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