Mzuzu City Council is struggling to raise K4 million to redeem the mayor’s official residence which a Mzuzu-based businessperson, Joe Nyirongo, is clinging to after the council illegally sold him a house at K100 000.
Sources said the council sold several houses confiscated from people in 2005 and one of the houses in Luwinga was sold to Nyirongo.
However, the owner of the house took the council to court. The court ordered that the house be returned to him, but by that time Nyirongo had renovated the house, raising its value.
The council then asked Nyirongo to hold on to the mayor’s official residence to give them room to sort out the mess.
Nyirongo initially refused to vacate the mayor’s house, claiming K8 million compensation. The council paid him K4 million last year and is struggling to settle the balance, a development that has seen Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire occupying a private house at Mchengautuwa, a high- density residential area.
But in an interview on Tuesday, Mkandawire said the council secretariat told him that it had settled the debt and that Nyirongo was due to vacate the house soon.
Said the mayor: “The debt has been cleared, but there are some minor things that the council is working on. I am told the council settled the bill this year so when they have finalised everything I will decide whether to occupy it or not.
But Nyirongo said claims by the council were unfounded. He said the council only paid him K4 million last year and is yet to settle the balance.
Said Nyirongo: “So, if they claim they settled the balance, when did they do so? I have not handed over the house to them because they are yet to pay me. I will hand it over when they pay me the balance.” n