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OFFBEAT

Lidl issues scavenger poisoned food apology

Discount German supermarket chain Lidl has issued an apology after workers at one of its Swedish stores deliberately poisoned discarded food in a bid to keep homeless people at bay.

Lidl issues scavenger poisoned food apology

“Lidl Sweden has been informed that cleaning liquids have been poured into the trash to stop trespassers from stealing garbage at one of our stores during a short time period,” Mathias Kivikoski, Lidl’s chief executive in Sweden, said in a statement.

“We deeply regret what has happened and this is not something the company recommends or permits,” it added.

A newspaper in the Stockholm suburb of Solna revealed that Lidl employees at a local store had become tired of homeless people searching trash bins had last week begun pouring toxic cleaning products on discarded food.

They put up a sign near the bins warning that the goods had been poisoned, but it remained unclear if anyone had eaten the food, the Mitt i Solna paper reported.

Food had disappeared from the bins after the staff began poisoning it, it said.

Rolf Nilsson, who heads a Stockholm homeless organization, described the employees’ actions as “crazy.”

“This is just so upsetting and distressing. We’re talking about people who have to dig in garbage containers to find food to eat,” Nilsson told the Aftonbladet daily.

HOMELESS

Court rules multimillion Malmö homeless housing deal illegal

A 340 million (€32m) kronor deal struck by Malmö's city government to build 133 new apartments for homeless Malmö families has been ruled illegal by the Administrative Court of Appeal in Gothenburg.

Court rules multimillion Malmö homeless housing deal illegal
The plot in Limnhamn where the apartments for homeless people were to be built. Photo: Google Maps
Malmö's city government awarded the contract to Skånska Strand, owned by local businessman Tommy Månsson, without any sort of public tender, sparking an immediate outcry from opposition politicians. 
 
In August, a court in Malmö ruled that the contract was illegal, as it should have been tendered out according to Sweden's Law of Public Procurement (LOU). And on Monday, the appeals court in Gothenburg backed the Malmö court's decision. 
 
“The Administrative Court in Gothenburg judges that the purpose of the deal was to produce a building,” the court's chair Åsa Ståhl said in a press release. 
 
“The municipality has exerted a deciding influence of the construction project. The contract is therefore for a public construction project. Such a contract should be tendered under LOU. The deal is therefore deemed illegal.” 
 
Malmö and Skånska Strand had structured the 20-year-deal as a lease agreement, which Andreas Schönström, the Social Democrat councillor ultimately responsible, argued at the time meant it should be exempt from Sweden's LOU law. 
 
“Those of us who were at the meeting where Schönström smirked that it didn't need any official tender are smiling more than usual today,” wrote the Moderate MP John Roslund on his Facebook page.
 
Roslund fought the deal in 2017 and last year called the contract “one of the most remarkable things I've seen in all my years as a politician”. 
 
Much of his opposition stemmed from the decision to locate the apartments in Limhamn, a relatively middle-class district of Malmö. 
 
“A nice victory for people in Limhamn today,” he wrote. “The council's attempt to destroy Limhamn with a concentration of hundreds of homeless people ended in tears.”
 
The deal had also been criticized because Månsson owns Skånska Strand through a Cyprus-based company, meaning any profits for the deal would probably not be taxed in Sweden. 
 
It is unclear whether Malmö municipality will seek to appeal the judgement to the third and final court. 
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