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Exclusive: South Auckland budgeting firm facing fraud investigation

Police have launched a fraud investigation at south Auckland's Otara Budgeting Services – which was forced to close its doors late last year.

Otara Budgeting Service operated on taxpayer funding and donations, but has now been dissolved. Source: 1 NEWS

The service has been at the centre of resignations, complaints and allegations of financial irregularities.

One News understands the investigation is focusing on the last seven years of operation and on its manager Tai Tupa.

Ms Tupa told One News she was disappointed about the investigation and blamed disgruntled staff.

Most of the service funding has come from the Ministry of Social Development - $869,504 since 2009.

MSD's Deputy Chief Executive Community Investment Murray Edridge confirmed it has been assisting police with a fraud investigation but is satisfied the funding it provided was used for the right purposes.

"The fraud investigation is on-going so any comment on that matter needs to come from Police," he said.

For the last two years the Service has been running at a deficit and the board discussed allegations of financial irregularities in 2014.

Otara Budgeting Services has been dissolved and its clients taken on by the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust.

Its chief executive Darryl Evans says his service is now providing the same service to the same clients and they are seeing around seven to eight families a day.

"The feedback we are now getting is really positive and what we are wanting to do is provide the very best support services so that nobody in that area misses out and thankfully we have now stepped in to that breach".