A man who racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt in unpaid council tax has been ordered to start repaying the money he owes now – or face prison.
Watford Borough Council had previously adjourned committal proceedings against Bernardo Makengo Ndombask, 49, of The Phillipers, Watford, in the hope of resolving his outstanding arrears. However, when the amount he owed grew to £6,957.23, the council was eventually forced to obtain and execute an arrest warrant against him. Ndombask appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday last week (30 September), where he received a 12-week prison sentence, suspended indefinitely until the full and final payment is made. Ndombask has been ordered to sort out his financial affairs and start making repayments of £100 per month with effect from October 2015. If he fails to make those payments, he faces a prison sentence.
Elected Mayor of Watford Dorothy Thornhill said: “Council tax is an essential way of funding public services in Watford. These include bin collections, the police force, our schools, roads and many of our wonderful leisure facilities. We always do our best to resolve council tax disputes amicably, but, when we need to, we will clamp down on those who refuse to pay.”
Councillor Mark Watkin, portfolio holder for finance, said: “We give residents every opportunity to engage with us where they have difficulty in paying their council tax. Unfortunately, in some cases of people who can but won’t pay, we have no option but to take people to court to secure the debt. They are being subsidised by the rest of the community and we will not tolerate it.”