Ravi Purushottam, the education minister of Myanmar’s northern Arakan State, has been found not guilty of embezzlement and fraud in his post-election administration, the Constitutional Court has ruled.
The Constitutional Court said Mr Purushattam had no legal standing to hold office, and his appointment was invalid as the Constitution prohibits him from being a lawmaker.
In December last year, Mr Purishottam was found guilty of bribery, embezlement, and embezing more than $4m worth of funds to repay the former President Thein Sein’s campaign debt.
He resigned the post of education minister after he was found not responsible for embeaning the Constitutional order by making public speeches during his term.
The Constitutional court said the money was paid to him by former Prime Minister Myint Swe, who was in the midst of being impeached.
In October, a higher court overturned his impeachment conviction.
The Supreme Court, however, also said the impeachment proceedings were premature.
The court said it had no jurisdiction to intervene in the proceedings, and the Constitutional Council was responsible for deciding on the issue of the removal of Mr Purushiottam from office.
The government has defended Mr Puruishottams election victory, claiming it had secured a solid majority in the elections.
Mr Purushttam, who took office in April 2018, had promised to “take the next step” towards the development of Arakannam and other rural areas.
He also pledged to bring Myanmar’s economic and social development to the countrys top priority in 2019.
Mr Purohat, the leader of opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), said the decision to remove Mr Puruhottam “raises questions”.
“It is clear that this is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that the election of the new prime minister is the culmination of a major political project that began in the previous government, with the support of the President,” Mr Purohid said.
Mr Maung Maungdaw, the president of the opposition National Alliance for Democracy, said the ruling was “a clear sign that the opposition wants to undermine the country’s progress on its democratic path”.
“This is the first time that the new government has removed a minister from office, an indication that the President is using his power to silence the opposition,” he said.
“The new prime Minister has the power to appoint ministers.
He has the right to do so.”
Mr Paungdaun said the prime minister should “take a step back and rest in peace”.