Lilongwe City Council officials and the police on Thursday made a surprise swoop on properties which failed to pay city rates since 2005, closing the business premises down.
LCC spokesperson Tamara Chafunya stressed that the exercise is targeting all defaulters of city rates in the council.
In Area 50, the council and the police closed down Mount Meru Filling Station for its failure to pay K105 million in city rates since 2005 but the council failed to take action because of a dragging court case after the owner, challenged the amount in court.
The court has since ruled in favour of the council.
At Biwi, the council closed down Chinjoka Motors after a lengthy struggle as the owner Chinjoka Mkandawire resisted the closure, saying he would pay the money.
“You cannot close the premises, please this is lunch hour, let me have my lunch first. I said I have the money so why are you closing the premises,” shouted Mkandawire at the council officials and the police.
Chinjoka owes the council K80 million but also went to court in 2005 to challenge it.
However, the council officials told Mkandawire to go and pay the money to the council offices and the premises would be open.
Mkandawire has the garage but also runs minibus and bus businesses.
Director of Commerce at the council Gresham Mbwambwa said the council is set to collect K12 billion from city rates defaulters who had challenged the council in court but the court has since cleared the council to either collect the money or seal the premises and sell them off to recover the money.
Last year, LCC asked the High Court of Malawi to help it collect K3 billion from city rate defaulters and the court recently ruled in its favour.
In July 2017, LCC published names of defaulters in the gazette and local press, a requirement that needs to be fulfilled before the matter is taken to court.