This prompted the Vatican to request the Ugandan police to investigate the matter.
Sources said the police launched the investigations after receiving a complaint on February 13 regarding euros 287,180 (about sh1b) that had been wired into the country though the request by the Vatican City had come in earlier.
The euros 287,180 were reportedly wired using various bank swift codes to seven accounts in five banks in Mbarara on January 17 and 18. The money was immediately withdrawn by the owner of the accounts.
Sources said the bank accounts belonged to a young woman identified as Esther Nabasa, who is said to have worked for three different banks before resigning.
The money, according to the Police, was wired in bits to an account in FINA, Crane Bank, Standard Chartered and Stanbic as well as two other bank accounts in KCB between January 17 and 18.
Following the request by the Vatican, the Special Investigations Unit immediately swung into action and has been probing the matter which is now before court.
Sources said another euros 12,010 was reportedly wired to an account in equity bank.
When contacted yesterday, Beata Chelimo, the Special Investigations Unit commander, said significant progress had been made in the investigations into the matter.
“That fraud involved many players. Someone must have known that the money was in the Vatican. He or she must have connived to have it wired to the accounts and instantly withdrawn,” she said.
Chelimo said the money was part of two drafts that were prepared by the conmen – one for £264,000 (about sh1b) and the other for £242,000 (about sh968m).
“All the money was to be converted to euros first and then wired. However, the conmen succeeded in processing one draft (for £264,000), but failed to process the second after it was intercepted,” she said.
Chelimo added that the £242,000 draft was questioned after the Vatican cross-checked and reported that no instructions had been given for the money to be issued.
Suspecting fraud, the process was halted and inquiries commenced.
Nabasa was charged at the Mbarara Chief Magistrates’ court on July 6 and the matter adjourned to September 4 for hearing.
Addressing senior police officers from eastern and southern Africa on Wednesday, police boss Gen. Kale Kayihura called for regional and international co-operation in fighting crime.