11 Oct 2013

NZ businessman in Afghanistan hydro project dispute

4:42 pm on 11 October 2013

A New Zealand businessman says he had no choice but to hand over his passport to authorities in Afghanistan after a dispute over an electricity project.

Tony Woods, owner of Sustainable Energy Services Afghanistan, was questioned last month by Bamiyan police about an uncompleted small hydro project his company has been working on in the province of Parwan.

Mr Woods has confirmed to Radio New Zealand he handed over his passport, but denies he's done anything wrong.

He said he had been contracted two years ago by US authorities, but said they told him to leave last year after the death of three other contractors in the area.

However after legal action by villagers, angry about being left without power, the police forced him to surrender his passport.

Mr Woods says security has now improved in the area and his staff have returned to the village to complete the work.

He says the New Zealand embassy in Kabul is helping him have his passport returned.