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THE SOFT-GOODS EXPERT.

(" Wellington Pont,") Thia appointment of a Oastoms Export Deteo.lvd is bat one lDßtanoo out of many as to how the money goes. It is, by the way, no new appointment, as Is supposed, because Parliament had scarcely risen when Mr Shannon was summoned from bis rural retreat, like another Cluclnnatas, to come to the resoae of Sir Harry Atkineon, who fonnd himself floundering amongst soft goods. He obeyed the summons, and aided m the compilation of the table of classifications and Commissioner's doolalonu, whioh was issued soon after. Then arrangements were made with him to assume deteotive duties, and be wont about the task acoordlng to the best traditions of Scotland Yard. We do not know whether he disguised himself as detectives generally do ia novels and on the stage, with wig, false beard, etc., but he went from port to pott of the colony m a most unostentatious and unoffiolal manner, timing bis arrival at eaoh so as to be there when a diroot otcawoc with large consignments arrived. Me Shannon had nu apparent connection with the Customs Department He gave its officers, m public, as wide a berth aa if he had himself been engaged In running contraband goods. He took up his quarters at a fashionable hotel, had a private room which he occupied as an offioo, and not a astonished the waiters by the amount of correspondence he reoeired and despatched, always by speoial messenger. The importers had not the least idea of what was going on, bat they were speedily awakened to the fact that thero was a kind of revolution being effected m the manner of dealing with invoioes m the Customhouse. All sorts of long-standing olasalfisatlons were suddenly altered, the authenticity of Invoioes was In some instances even questioned, discounts were disallowed, and precautions insisted on to ensure that articles were m reality devoted to the purpose for whioh entry wai olalmed for them at a lower rate of duty than they would otherlse be subject to. Consternation prevailed In the import trade, mneh larger iamg than expected had to be provided for duties, and importers were quite at a loss to acoount for the teohnloal sharpness suddenly displayed by the Customs officials — until somehow or other the fact that Mr Shannon was the Expert Deteotive of the Customs beoame known. Then, of course, the storm burst. It is still blowing, and will probably oontlnne to do so until Parliament again meets, when Sir Harry Atkinson will find himself m this carious dilemma. If, as it Is said be will be able to do, he sucaeeds m showing that Me Shannon's efforts have added largely to the revenue by the deteotlon of attempted evasions or frauds, he will m doing so have to praotloally condemn the system whloh offers Inducement and temptation to dishonest practices, If evading duties is dishonest aceordlng to commercial ethics, a point npon whloh the code of commercial morality Is possibly not very dear.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18881211.2.27

Bibliographic details

THE SOFT-GOODS EXPERT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2010, 11 December 1888

Word Count
498

THE SOFT-GOODS EXPERT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2010, 11 December 1888

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