Customs Farewell 15 retiring officers

Some of PNG Customs Service’s longest serving officers were part of a group of 15 retirees that were farewelled on November 20, 2020 at the APEC House in Port Moresby.

Those included Lydia Wartovo, who joined in 1974 at the age of 17 and later becoming a cornerstone for the Customs Islands Regional Operations where she oversaw the regions’ operations for many years in her capacity as Acting Commissioner. Mrs. Wartovo was recruited along with other females who became the first group of females to become Customs officers. Prior to that, all PNG Customs officers were male.

Another senior retiree was John Nakiria, who joined Customs in 1979 at the age of 22 and held many senior and executive level positions within the organisation. Mr. Nakiria has been a respected and popular figure in Customs well known for openly speaking his mind without fear of favour. He also had a talent for taking charge of projects that he had little or no background over and turning them into success, the most recent one being the Customs ASYCUDA World project.

Other retirees included Dellan Towaipi (19 years of service), Eric Awamaki (40),  Julian Panges (40), Miana Tau-Mabone (24), Elio Api (31), Solomon Balau (21), Valentine Wekre (29), Vincent Sangau (7), Dorothy Warum (35), Wesley Bulumaris (44), Hilary Warika (26), Lucy Magiar (42) and the Late David Wulia, who passed away earlier in the month and was represented by his spouse.

Chief Commissioner David Towe farewelled the officers saying he was saddened to be farewelling the officers only two weeks after taking officer but acknowledged that it was the right time for them to retire.

Commissioner Border Security and Regional Operations Benjamin Sine thanked the retirees for their contributions towards the development and growth of the organisation and urged young officers to carry on the legacy that the retirees have left behind.

Commissioner Trade and Corporate Service James Bire while making presentations said the gifts he was giving was very small compared to the contribution each retiring officer had made to the organisation and no gift was enough to compensate them for their outstanding services to Customs and the people of Papua New Guinea.