Karonga District Council is dragging to court 2 089 business operators and other landlords in the district for allegedly failing to pay the council over K36.3 million.
Lawyer for the council Victor Gondwe confirmed in an interview yesterday he has been instructed to take businesspersons and other residents to court for failing to pay rates and that summonses have already been prepared.
Gondwe said the people have been defaulting for over three months, a development he said is affecting operations of the council.
“The property involved is both commercial and residential. These people are not coming forward to pay the money. For now, we are just claiming the amount involved, but there are also people who have not paid in the period of less than three months,” said Gondwe.
Council director of administration Geoffrey Mkandawire said most of the people defaulting rates are from the business community, adding there is general resistance to pay rates.
Mkandawire said evasion of rates is affecting, among other operations, garbage collection, maintenance of vehicles, buying of fuel and payment of staff.
“We also fail to implement such projects as construction of buildings and upgrading of roads,” he said.
But Karonga Business Community (KBC) chairperson Wavisanga Silungwe blamed the council for relaxing in collecting rates, noting that some of the officials befriend businesspersons which becomes difficult for them to collect the money.