PETALING JAYA: A legal firm rebuffed an attempt on Thursday by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Inland Revenue Board to seize documents from the firm, and has filed an objection over the attempted violation of professional privilege, according to a partner in the firm.
Chetan Lachman Jethwani confirmed that his firm, Chetan Jethwani & Co, was one of the firms that was the subject of an attempted search and seizure on Thursday morning.
In a statement today, he said the MACC and LHDN action was unlawful, indiscriminate and would result in a violation of legal professional privilege.
He said the officers had sought production of a client file which contained information protected by privilege. Jethwani said he objected and also sent a letter of objection to the MACC chief commissioner. A letter was also sent to the Bar Council.
“I state here unequivocally that no files or documents of any kind were produced or shown to the MACC,” he said.
He said five officers from MACC and LHDN had come to his firm on Thursday morning with an order to seize documents. They left after his objections, and returned later with an order to produce documents and an order to have a statement recorded at Putrajaya MACC that afternoon.
Jethwani said legal professional privilege is a fundamental right protecting information between a lawyer and client and has been repeatedly upheld and enforced by Malaysia’s judicial system. He said he had asserted the right in the recorded statement.
He said press reports on the MACC action “had made reference to other clients unconnected to this matter” and had also resulted in “baseless speculation about the client whose materials had been sought.
“In these circumstances, I will not be disclosing nor commenting on the identity of the subject matter of the privileged material at issue,” he said.
On Thursday, the media reported that MACC had raided the offices of Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership. The reports also stated in passing that MACC had separately also attempted to obtain documents from Chetan Jethwani & Co.