My mother used to tell me: “I don’t have anything to leave you. Your legacy, what you leave behind is your work. It’s your masterpiece.” To me, that is the most important, always giving a hundred percent. Not having regrets because you’ve tried your best.
I always had a strong sense of justice. That some things were not fair. Even when I was little, I wanted to be a judge, because to me the judge could really seek justice. Growing up I held on to this ideal and went to law school.
Growing up I was really into soccer and volleyball, but it became difficult to balance athletics and being a law student. In Portugal, in 2004, you had to wait two years between graduating and applying to Judiciary, so I almost left Portugal for Cape Verde to gain experience. I made a friend during college, today she is my son’s godmother who had a decisive influence on my life.
My friend’s father had a law firm in Angola. I didn’t know anyone in Cape Verde. She encouraged me to go to Angola instead. See how it works and if it does, gain experience and come back to the magistrate’s courts in Portugal later. So I did. I have been here for twenty years. I am married and have two children.
Everyone in Angola welcomed me with open arms and thanks to them I’m the person I am today. I learned a lot and eventually I had the opportunity to work with the CMC as a legal advisor where I have the opportunity to collaborate to the regulation, supervision and promotion of our market. I am also a member of the CMC Task Force for the National Risk Assessment which represents CMC on the assessment conducted by the Eastern and Southern African Money Laundering Group to analyze compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Angola’s AML/CFT system.”
I fell in love with the financial sector. The legal aspects of it. It is important to safeguard the financial sector, its transparency and integrity because otherwise we can’t have sustainable growth and a strong economy.
My three-year-old is still too young, but the eight-year-old is like I was at his age. This morning he walks up to me and said: “Mommy I am starting an investigation. Someone stole my sleeping mask. I have five suspects. I already spoke to dad, but you are suspect number one, because you gave it to me. And I think you want it back but you’re ashamed to ask.” I don’t even remember giving him the mask. But I am proud. He has the same instincts as me.
Being a mother is suffering in paradise. It is beautiful, but it is also a responsibility. I want to raise two men, with a capital M. With character and integrity. And this is also why it’s important to fight against illicit financial flows, corruption and corrupt people. Because they are keeping things they haven’t earned. Then countries have to struggle to access basic things like health and education. It’s a beautiful fight. That we can fight together. Because we are stronger together.”
Maria is the CMC focal point for the PRO.REACT project running from 2021-2024, funded by the EU, and implemented by UNODC aimed at developing an effective system against money laundering in partnership with Angolan institutions, supporting Angola in the implementation of the FATF Recommendations, and improving coordination with civil society and the private sector. Angola is committed to increasing the number of money laundering investigations related to all profit-driven criminal offences. Through the project the police, prosecutors and judiciary have and are being trained across the country.
 Anti-Money Laundering / Combatting the Financing of Terrorism
 Comissão do Mercado de Capitais