ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has taken notice of alleged misappropriation and taking kickbacks by some senior officers of the Ministry of Interior in the multi-billion rupees 'Islamabad Safe City project'.

Director General (DG) of NAB Rawalpindi Region Shahzad Anwar Bhatti has forwarded a report, with his remarks, to the Compliant Verification Department of the bureau regarding misappropriations in the Safe City Project, an official source aware of the development informed The Nation on Thursday.

An official of the bureau on condition of anonymity confirmed that the DG NAB Rawalpindi Region had asked the Complaint Verification Department that complete record of the project should be sought from the authorities concerned to ascertain whether any misappropriation had been done in the project or not. He said that the role of the officers of the interior ministry in the project would also be probed.

The National Accountability Bureau  has already probed the matter of Safe City Project on the direction of Supreme Court and later it had conveyed to the federal government that no misappropriation was done in the project.

A couple of weeks ago, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan during a press conference had said that the government decided to revive the Safe City project.

Senate Standing Committee on Interior, in its last meeting had alleged that top bureaucracy of the Ministry of Interior had received heavy kickbacks in the Rs 13 billion project that was finalized during the last regime of PPP, as the cost of a single security camera was around Rs 10 million, that was a much higher price than the market value.

Under the Islamabad Safe City Project, 1500 security surveillance cameras would be installed in various parts of the company, however, a single security camera could not be installed under the project since 2010.

The government of Pakistan in December 2010 had finalized a framework of soft term loan agreement with Chinese bank Exim to procure these security cameras from a Chinese company, Huawei Technologies.

National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), an attached department of the Ministry of Interior, is the implementing agency from the Pakistani side.

The committee had observed that the government of Pakistan had already paid Rs 7 billion to Huawei Technologies out of the total Rs 13 billion cost of the project and Pakistan had been paying the mark-up on the total loan for the last two years.

Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator Talha Mahmood had said during the meeting, "Misappropriations had been committed in Rs 13 billion Safe City Project...according to my information, the foreign company had sent kickbacks in the accounts of senior officers of the ministry of interior," he said.

He added that the officials of the ministry of interior were not willing to appear before the committee to push the matter under the carpet.

On the the directives of Supreme Court, the National Accountability Bureau   launched an inquiry but found no misappropriation was done in the project.