Madonna visited by Malawian child welfare


LONDON -- Malawi's chief social welfare official has paid a visit to Madonna's London home, part of a long-delayed assessment into whether the pop idol can adopt a little boy from the Southern African country.

Simon Chisale was spotted leaving the singer's home Wednesday afternoon clutching a blue binder, but he refused to comment and attempted to hide his face when approached by The Associated Press.

Chisale is due to file a report on the suitability of Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie as adoptive parents for toddler David Banda, who was plucked from a Malawian orphanage during a visit there by Madonna last autumn.

In October, Madonna and Ritchie were granted temporary custody of David, then 13 months old, but that could be revoked if it were found that David was being treated differently from their other children or if the toddler's rights were being violated in any way.

The assessment originally was to have been made by Penston Kilembe, the director of Malawi's Child Welfare Services. However, he was removed from the case following allegations that he had solicited money from the singer for his trip to London.

The removal sparked renewed concern that the singer had used her wealth and celebrity status to speed David's adoption.

Kilembe has denied any wrongdoing, and in a statement earlier this week Madonna said there had been no interference with government officials.