In the latest development in a long-running federal case, a former Willbros International Inc. consultant has been sentenced to a prison term for taking part in an alleged conspiracy to bribe Nigerian officials in connection with a pipeline project in the Niger Delta, the U.S. Dept. of Justice said.

In federal district court in Houston on May 3, Paul G. Novak was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Novak also was directed to pay a $1-million fine and serve two years of supervised release after his prison term.

According to DOJ, Willbros International is a subsidiary of Willbros Group Inc., which is based in Houston.

Justice said Novak pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one count of violating that statute.

According to DOJ, Novak admitted that, from late 2003 to March 2005, he conspired with others to make payments to Nigerian government officials as well as officials from a Nigerian political party. Justice said the payments totaled $6 million and were made to help Willbros and a joint-venture partner company win and retain a $387-million natural-gas pipeline project in that country.

Justice said the partner was “a construction company based in Mannheim, Germany,” but did not identify the company.

In May 2008, Willbros Group and Willbros International agreed to pay a $22-million penalty for bribing Nigerian and Ecuadoran government officials, according to DOJ.