Colombia prosecutor looking into payment to shaman

Colombia prosecutor looking into payment to shaman

Published Jan. 17, 2012 8:24 p.m. ET

Colombia's top prosecutor is questioning why a shaman, or medicine man, was paid $2,000 to keep rain away from the closing ceremony of the Under-20 World Cup.

The attorney general's office opened the investigation on Tuesday after the local comptroller's office in Bogota questioned cost overruns of more than $1 million - the shaman's charges included - for the closing ceremony in August.

The official cost of the closing ceremony was placed at $2.5 million.

Ana Marta de Pizarro, an anthropologist who helped organize the closing ceremony, justified hiring the shaman.


''Had it rained, the event would not have taken place,'' Pizarro said Tuesday. ''It didn't rain on the ceremony, it was successful and I would use him again if I needed to.''

Pizarro said the shaman had been used at other outdoor events in the country.

The Under-20 World Cup was held for three weeks last year across Colombia, with Brazil winning the final in Bogota on Aug. 20.