A construction company lavished with government export awards is expected to plead guilty to bribing Ghanaian and Jamaican officials in the long-awaited first prosecution of a British business for overseas corruption.

The case of Mabey & Johnson – which makes bridges based on the portable Bailey crossing used by Allied troops during the second world war – could become a model for future deals between investigators and corporations accused of paying backhanders to win contracts abroad.

The proceedings – which are due to come to court tomorrow – are the first significant fruits of efforts to counter severe global criticism of Britain’s antibribery efforts and, in particular, its decision to drop an investigation into BAE Systems’ Saudi Arabian arms deals.

Financial Times, Daily Telegraph