Close this search box.

When Must An Agent Refund Money Paid for his Master/Principal? 

When Must An Agent Refund Money Paid for his Master/Principal?  Daily Law Tips (Tip 743) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)


It is common to find a person/company that works through another person/company. This nature of affair creates agency, where a master/principal acts through another person (agent). In such circumstances, the actions and inactions of an agent are deemed to be that his/her master (principal). So, a person that acts through another person, acts through himself. Then, one wonders, when must agents refund money paid to their masters and not wait for their masters to order/permit for such repayment?

Call for Legal Awareness Articles in English or Pidgin Languages.
Call for Legal Awareness Articles in English or Pidgin Languages.

Agents and Money: 

Most people are often comfortable to deal with agents on all issues, but payment of money. People are more comfortable to pay masters directly and not their agents. Well, there are inevitable circumstances where no person can pay or go to a master/principal except through an agent. So, if in such circumstance, money has been paid to an agent, when must an agent refund such money paid for his master/principal?

Sabi Law On BeatFm
Sabi Law On BeatFm

There is no better way to answer the question, other than through the judgments and decision of Supreme Court of Nigeria. The Supreme Court of Nigeria is the apex court in Nigeria and has the final power over all issues before any court in Nigeria. So, hear the wisdom of the Supreme Court;

“In Bowstead on Agency, 12th Ed. Article 124 thereof, the learned author stated as follows:- “Where money is paid to an agent for the use of his principal, and the circumstances of the case are such that the person paying the money is entitled to recover it back, the agent is personally liable to repay such money in the following cases namely:- (a) … (b)… (c) where the money is paid under a mistake of fact, or under duress, or in consequence of some fraud or wrongful act, and repayment is demanded of the agent, or notice is given to him of the intention of the payer to demand payment, before he has in good faith paid the money over to, or otherwise dealt to his detriment with the principal in belief that the payment was a good and valid payment.” Per WALTER SAMUEL NKANU ONNOGHEN ,J.S.C ( P. 17, paras. A-E ) in the case of FBN PLC v. OZOKWERE (2013) LPELR-21897(SC).


An agent of a known/disclosed principal is often not held responsible for his actions and inactions, rather his master is responsible for such. Well, this position changes at some point. There are circumstances where an agent is expected to be held responsible for money paid and received by him on behalf of his principal. And, in such circumstances, the argument that an agent forwarded the money to his principal does not exempt the agent from liabilities. The circumstances include; where the money was paid to an agent by mistake, fraud, force or a demand for refund was made to the agent, before money was forwarded to a principal.

My authorities, are:

  1. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of FBN PLC v. OZOKWERE (2013) LPELR-21897(SC).
  2. The judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of MR. ONYEBUCHI NWOBU v. CHIEF AMOBI ANARA (2020) LPELR-49944(CA).

Sabi Law Projects:










Feel free to reach the author, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other legal issues via or +2348037665878.


This work is published under the free legal awareness project of Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( The writer was not paid or charged any publishing fee. You too can support the legal awareness projects and programs of Sabi Law Foundation by donating to us. Donate here and get our unique appreciation certificate or memento.


This publication is not a piece of legal advice. The opinion expressed in this publication is that of the author(s) and not necessarily the opinion of our organisation, staff and partners.


🛒 Take short courses, get samples/precedents and learn your rights at

🎯 Publish your legal articles for FREE by sending to:

🎁 Receive our free Daily Law Tips & other publications via our website and social media accounts or join our free whatsapp group: Daily Law Tips Group 6


Get updates on all the free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law (#SabiLaw) and its partners, via:

YouTube: SabiLaw

Twitter: @Sabi_Law

Facebook page: SabiLaw

Instagram: @SabiLaw.org_

WhatsApp Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group 6

Telegram Group: Free Daily Law Tips Group

Facebook group: SabiLaw




This publication is the initiative of the Sabi Law Foundation ( funded by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International ( Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria. It is the first of its kind and has been promoting free legal awareness since 2010.


As a registered not-for-profit and non-governmental organisation, Sabi Law Foundation relies on donations and sponsorships to promote free legal awareness across Nigeria and the world. With a vast followership across the globe, your donations will assist us to increase legal awareness, improve access to justice, reduce common legal disputes and crimes in Nigeria. Make your donations to us here  or contact us for sponsorship and partnership, via: or +234 903 913 1200.


Leave a Reply

Related Posts

Contact Support


Welcome! Log into your account