Nigerian officials were allegedly bribed over 10 years in efforts to obtain engineering and construction contracts

A former chief executive of US construction and engineering firm Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in connection with the company's natural gas operations in Nigeria.

Albert Stanley entered a guilty plea for conspiring in a 10-year scheme to give bribes to Nigerian government officials in exchange for engineering and construction contracts.

KBR, a major engineering and construction services company with operations around the world, split off as a separate public company from oil services giant Halliburton last year. Controversy has surrounded its role in the reconstruction of Iraq.

Stanley acknowledged in his plea that a four-company joint venture, which included KBR, paid around $182m to consulting companies that then paid bribes to Nigerian government officials.

He faces seven years in prison and a payment of £6m in “restitution”, according to the US Justice Department.