Bridge contractor pleads guilty to charges of corruption in Jamaica, Ghana and Iraq

British bridge contractor Mabey & Johnson was convicted of overseas corruption and breaching UN sanctions last week.

Mabey & Johnson pleaded guilty to trying to influence officials in Jamaica and Ghana when bidding for public contracts.

It also paid money to Saddam Hussein's Iraq regime, violating the terms of the UN oil-for-food programme.

At Southwark Crown Court on Friday the Reading-based company was fined £3.5m. In addition it had to pay £1.1m in a confiscation order and £350,000 in costs to the Serious Fraud Office.

The company will also have to pay £1,413,611 as reparations to Ghana, Jamaica and Iraq.

Mabey & Johnson secured contracts worth £60m by bribing foreign politicians and other officials with pay-outs worth a total of £1m.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said the Serious Fraud Office had started its investigation after five of the company's directors stepped down and the new board decided to hand over incriminating documents.

He said the firm deserved "recognition and approval" for its efforts to put matters right and that it had taken steps to distance itself from its criminal past and ensure there was no repetition.

Commenting on the case SFO director Richard Alderman said, “This is a landmark outcome. The first conviction in this country of a company for overseas corruption and for breaking the UN Iraq sanctions.

“The offences are serious ones but the company has played its part positively by recognising the unacceptability of those past business practices and by coming forward to report them and engage constructively with the SFO. I urge other companies who might see some parallels for them, to come and talk to us and have the matter dealt with quickly and fairly”.